12 October, 2018

This week NERC (Natural Environment Research Council) announced a £4.1m funding stream to ensure the continuation of four programmes of sustainable observation of key environmental variables in the polar regions and four unique BAS British Antarctic Survey (BAS) scientific capabilities.  The 5-year award, commencing in 2018, is one of five world-leading research programmes funded by NERC as part of its National Capability Science Single Centre activity (NC SSC).

These four scientific research capability programmes (instruments, facilities and expertise) enable sustained observation focussed on crucial Earth System indicators in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.  Research outcomes from this programme are vital to the UK and global scientific effort to understand our changing world.  The national capabilities are available to the UK science community to ensure Britain’s success in the field of polar science and include:

This award is part of a wider NERC National Capability portfolio programme worth more than £72m.  This enables more ambitious, large-scale science than is possible through its other funding streams. The research will pursue science that is decadal in scale and focus on the disciplinary science carried out by the NERC Research Centres.

NERC Executive Chair Professor Duncan Wingham said:

“From unique Antarctic research capabilities to understanding the complex interactions between earth, air and water, these awards support excellent long-term research that provides ongoing scientific understanding to support environmental decision-making at the highest levels.”

Last month NERC awarded BAS a £468K National Capability National Public Good (NC NPG) grant which also runs over five years.

This week NERC also announced its next 5-year Doctoral Training Awards to fund the next generation of talented PhD students.  British Antarctic Survey will co-host a number of students in collaboration with five leading UK universities.  These include:

  • Durham University, for IAPETUS2 providing opportunities in palaeo-environment and climate
  • University of Bristol for GW4+ DTP2 particularly geoscience
  • University of Cambridge for C-CLEAR particularly biosciences and palaeoclimate
  • University of East Anglia for ARIES focus on climate
  • University of Southampton for INSPIRE focus on oceanography

Professor David Vaughan is BAS Director of Science.  He said,

“This is a good week for BAS.  These awards are recognition that our portfolio of ‘National Capability Science’ activities is the backbone of UK polar science.  Combined with the recent National Public Good grant, these awards bolster our ability to carry out research that is critical for UK national security, resilience, economic growth and is of huge benefit to society.  The DTP partnerships demonstrate our ability to offer the next generation a stimulating start to their careers.  The research outcomes from these initiatives provide our government and the wider public with scientific evidence and expert advice that is very much in the national interest.”